on Modern Cartooning
You know what's really unfortunate? The fact that magazines are so strapped for cash nowadays that they've reduced their workforce to the point where oft times a secretary is tasked with her primary job, a secondary, and then down along tertiary is "oh, and you're the cartoon editor too". I can only read with amazement of the golden years when there were actual cartoon editors who actually acted as, are you ready for this? .... editors.
They made editorial decisions. They responded to the cartoonists with helpful commentary, gave guidance, and so forth. They had a vision for their magazine. Sounds nice, doesn't it?
But in today's world, the workload is so crushing that the cartoon editor has no time or energy to respond, to instruct, to discuss. One of the very few places in which a cartoonist can have a back and forth with a genuine cartoon editor nowadays is at the Bob Mankoff weekly cartoonist meeting in the New Yorker offices. And when I say one of the very few, I mean pretty much the only one. More commonly one simply mails the roughs in (whether electronic or paper) and then waits to hear back.
If no news is good news then modern cartoonists get LOTS of good news because that's what you usually hear back. No news. Nothing. Nada. Actual good news is a note that your cartoon is being purchased. But other than that, there's not much in the way of communication. Did they get it? Has it been looked at? Is it in a pile or in the trash? Who knows? The Shadow, I suppose, but certainly not the cartoonist.
It's a pity.
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